Rookies Homer To Key Extra-Inning Victories For Cardinals, Dodgers, Padres

Wednesday, June 27th 2007, 7:28 am
By: News On 6

Three unexpected youngsters hit extra-inning home runs to lift their teams to victory.

Brendan Ryan, Tony Abreu, and Kevin Kouzmanoff all connected to carry the Los Angeles Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Diego Padres to wins Tuesday night.

It was Ryan and Abreu's first career homers.

Ryan connected in the 11th inning off Scott Schoeneweis (0-2), and the Cardinals snapped the New York Mets' four-game winning streak with a 5-3 win.

He wasn't much of a power threat in the minors, connecting for only six homers in 1,000 minor league at-bats.

``It was probably the biggest swing of my life to this point,'' the rookie said. ``I'm not expecting to hit too many of those.''

Ryan said he originally had a drag bunt in mind, but third baseman David Wright seemed to be expecting it. Ryan swung away instead.

``I put the bat on the ball and it just went,'' he said.

Brad Thompson (6-3) pitched two scoreless innings for the win. Randy Flores got two outs for his first save, the third of his career.

Abreu broke a 5-5 tie with a homer off Doug Slaton (3-1) in the Dodgers' win over Arizona.

He had a nice surprise waiting for him as two Arizona fans wanted to make sure he had the ball.

In exchange, Abreu traded an autographed ball and one of teammate Ramon Martinez' bats. Abreu, a rookie, doesn't have enough bats to give away one of his own.

``It's going to be a souvenir in my house,'' Abreu said through an interpreter. ``It brings me a lot of joy. I'm just going to keep it there.''

Jonathan Broxton (3-2) pitched two scoreless innings for the victory. Takashi Saito pitched the 10th for his 21st save in 22 chances.

In other NL games Tuesday, it was: Atlanta 6, Washington 2; Philadelphia 11, Cincinnati 4; Milwaukee 11, Houston 5; Chicago 8, Colorado 5; and Pittsburgh 3, Florida 2.

Unlike the other two, Kouzmanoff had homered before. He connected with one out in the 10th inning and Trevor Hoffman earned his 500th save with San Diego, helping the slumping Padres beat San Francisco 3-2.

Kouzmanoff's homer off Randy Messenger (1-2) was San Diego's third solo shot of the game and helped the Padres overcome another blown eighth-inning lead and win for just the second time in seven games.

He is batting just .221 his rookie season but has had a knack for some big hits with 30 RBIs on just 44 hits.

``He's been a resilient kid,'' Black said. ``He'll be the first to tell you he's not happy with where his average is. He's used to looking up there and seeing a higher batting average and some better offensive numbers. I told him he'll find a way to figure it out.''

Cla Meredith (3-5) earned the win.

Braves 6, Nationals 2

At Atlanta, Jarrod Saltalamacchia homered twice, slumping Andruw Jones went deep for the first time in 2 1/2 weeks to lead the Braves past the Nationals.

Jones was mired in a 1-for-31 slump that had knocked his average below .200.

With two outs and two runners aboard, Jones got hold of a 3-1 pitch from Mike Bacsik (1-5). Jones leisurely tossed his bat aside as he watched the three-run shot sail into the left-field seats for his 12th homer this season.

Atlanta starter Buddy Carlyle (2-2) allowed a run in seven innings and Bob Wickman got the final two outs for his 14th save.

Phillies 11, Reds 4

Carlos Ruiz drove in a career-best four runs and stole home, and host Philadelphia moved to four games over .500, matching its season high.

Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino and Chase Utley homered for the Phillies, who finished with 16 hits and gave Kyle Kendrick plenty of support in his third start since replacing injured Freddy Garcia in the rotation.

Kendrick (2-0) allowed four runs and six hits in six innings. Fellow rookie Homer Bailey (2-1) lasted just 1 2-3 innings, allowing six runs and six hits.

Josh Hamilton and Adam Dunn hit solo homers for the Reds, who have the NL's worst record (29-48).

Brewers 11, Astros 5

Johnny Estrada's grand slam highlighted a nine-run sixth inning and Milwaukee rallied to beat visiting Houston.

Craig Biggio inched closer to the 3,000 hit mark with a single, leaving him three shy of becoming the 27th player to reach that milestone.

The NL Central-leading Brewers have won 11 of 13 since Detroit's Justin Verlander threw a no-hitter on June 12. The Astros, with one game left of a nine-game road trip, have lost six of their last eight.

Trailing 4-2, the Brewers chased Astros' starter Wandy Rodriguez (4-7) with three runs and then tacked on six more off reliever Rick White in the sixth. It was the most runs in an inning this season by the Brewers, surpassing the seven Milwaukee scored in the sixth inning against St. Louis on May 1.

Reliever Matt Wise (2-1) picked up the victory.

Cubs 8, Rockies 5

Cliff Floyd hit a two-run homer and surging Chicago won its fifth straight.

Floyd's fourth homer sparked a three-run first inning that put the host Cubs on top to stay. They added four runs in the fifth, highlighted by Koyie Hill's two-run double.

Chicago starter Ted Lilly (6-4) gave back much of the early lead but hung in for six innings, allowing four runs and six hits, with five walks and five strikeouts.

Rockies starter Rodrigo Lopez (4-1) left in the fifth and lost for the first time in nine starts. The right-hander gave up eight runs on nine hits in 4 2-3 innings.

Pirates 3, Marlins 2

Paul Maholm gave up three hits and two runs in 7 2-3 innings and visiting Pittsburgh snapped a five-game losing streak.

Maholm (4-10), who celebrated his 25th birthday on Monday, retired 15 straight batters after giving up a solo home run to Dan Uggla in the third inning. Matt Capps pitched the ninth for his sixth save.

Dontrelle Willis (7-7) allowed three runs and seven hits in seven innings for the Marlins in his fifth consecutive loss.

Jack Wilson had a solo homer and drove in both runs for the Pirates.